“suspended” :  after porgy and bess after ernestine anderson and after me for whom the boat is now a plane and that mista she talkin to is a sista.

There’s a plane that’s leavin soon for New York.
Come with me, that’s where we belong, Sista.

I’m one of those people who cries on an airplane. I cry when I’m high and flying, no matter high high, no matter what direction I’m moving. A woman I love jokes sometimes that I’m a crybaby but she’s right. I ugly cry, too.  It’s the sensation of the actual lifting; from the ground, one minute, to an impossible reality, the next. From knowing a baseline, one minute, to not being able to unfeel the absence it, the next.

You and I can live that high life in New York.
Come with me, there you can’t go wrong, Sista.

I’ve been thinking so much about what “fly” means- to be fly- to be fly-ing- for things themselves to sustain flight. It’s supposed to describe thing we might do when we’re in a particular kind of motion at a particular type of height, right? But if I’m at my peak, what is there above me? What comes after flying but falling and freezing?

I’ll buy me the swellest mansion, on upper 5th Ave.
And through Harlem, we’ll go struttin! We’ll go a-struttin!
And there’ll be nothin’ too good for you.

I say to fly is to be undeniable. That’s my fly. You’ve gotta move out of my way if I’m flying. You can’t unsee me if I speed past you. If I am flying a flag, you’re making a decision to cruise or look or not. If I’m in an aircraft even, there’s a pilot who is carrying me. In flight, we also divert others-- sometimes physically. Like, I know me and my lover, we fly. Once she sang to me as she sent me off.

I’ll dress me in silks and satins,
And the latest of Paris styles.
All the blues I’ll be forgettin, I'll be forgettin,
I won’t be frettin’, just nothing but smiles.

The dictionary has a whole host of definitions for this word. Some of my favorite are, “to be successful,” as in "that didn't fly around me,” or, “to assail suddenly and violently,” as in “to go or move quickly,” as in, "I flew at ‘em.” It’s somehow missing how we sometimes use fly to mean cool though. Something tells me that’s not a mistake.

Come along with me, that’s the place
Don't be a fool, come along, come along!

And what about those that are forced to fly? I think of the wartime flyboys. I think of my great grandmother. I think of escape routes to wherever.

There’s a plane that’s leavin’ soon for New York.

There’s always a risk

Come with me, that’s where we belong, Sista.

in suspension maybe.

That’s where we belong.